“There is no need to build a labyrinth when the entire universe is one.”
~Jorge Luis Borges
I had been sitting in a slowly moving line of cars waiting to get a covid test for about an hour when suddenly several car lengths opened up and I thought, “Oh, I’m almost there!” Only to find I was taking a left, not a right as I’d hoped. At that moment I had the revelation that this testing line was like a labyrinth and burst out laughing.
I have had the privilege of walking several labyrinths in various locations- the Cathedral at Chartres, Grace Cathedral in San Francisco, retreat centers in New England, even once with a mule (yes, a mule) in Arizona.
In Chartres, I felt the history, reverence and sacredness of the Cathedral. This helped me walk that labyrinth with presence and awareness. The Grace Chapel labyrinth I literally ran into and out of with a buddy at midnight. Ok, not a mindful walk but it was fun! During the mule walk, I had to negotiate my mule and the other horses and people walking the labyrinth so no one got kicked. My mule demanded my presence otherwise she’d stop. And you know how hard it is to budge a mule!
I’ve mostly thought labyrinths were overrated (sorry, labyrinth fans) and never fully appreciated the spiritual significance of the labyrinth until waiting for this covid test when, in a flash of revelation, I saw that not only the line I was in was a labyrinth, but all of life is a labyrinth.
Seeing life as labyrinth, I’ve become aware of how much I want reality to go my way. I see how attached I am to getting someplace – especially when I can see the finish line - How badly I want people and situations to go my way – especially when I think I’m, right! Yes, this does happen. Can you relate? While these very human tendencies are not bad or wrong my attachment to my agenda and the expectations this creates is what gets me in trouble when life takes a left instead of the right I’d hoped for.
So how do we navigate the labyrinth of life? Here are 3 key takeaways:
1. Pay attention to where you are in the moment.
Present moment awareness of your thoughts, feelings, sensations and body creates a foundation for you to be true to your experience where you are. Be curious about where you are: if you are frustrated, let the frustration be there and feel it in your body, same with any other emotion. This is not about acting out and attacking others if you are angry or upset. This is about being with yourself where you are because that’s where you are. Something my Dad said a million times. Thanks, Dad!
2. Have compassion for, patience with and acceptance of the parts of you that that are hard to be with.
There are many forces driving us not to be where we are. Staying with this practice takes a gentle holding and a firm commitment. Suffering comes when we resist our actual experience. This is a tough one to understand, but it’s true.
3. Be open to receiving the lessons all of life offers.
Life is an amazing gift we are given in each moment. Our human tendency is to split the good from the bad, what we want and don’t want what we may consider spiritual from the mundane. These habitual patterns separate us from experiencing life in each moment as miraculous, filled with beauty and arising out of a loving ground. Even sitting in a covid testing line can bring a revelatory experience!
We are walking the labyrinth of the current times. The pandemic, ecological, social and spiritual challenges we are facing right now are invitations. So much is being revealed about our culture, what we’ve taken for granted; so much is being woken up individually and collectively. This is not an easy time. There are many challenges and fears, unknowns and wishing all of this would go away. I get it. I’ve been there. This is where compassion comes in for ourselves, for those around us for our culture, for the planet.
May you find solace and support as you take your next steps on this labyrinth.
In compassion and love,
This time is asking us to live with clarity and courage. Here are three ways I can support you:
· Sunday morning meditation – Sundays at 9:30 am est on zoom. (no charge)
· Moving Forward with Clarity and Courage – A 6 month Coaching Package – 2 slots open
· Spiritual Insight Sessions - 10 session series to start – 2 slots open.